Province to spend $9.7 million on caribou conservation in northern Alberta

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A major focus of the project is tree planting, which the government said will support the restoration of seismic lines to stabilize caribou populations in northern Alberta.

The province has partnered with the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) to preserve and recover the woodland caribou population, which FRIAA manager Todd Nash said was once disturbed by industrial activities.

“This program includes Indigenous traditional (land-use) studies, reclamation of linear disturbances such as legacy seismic lines, roads and right-of-ways, audits and monitoring as well as necessary planning activities to require the efficient use of resources,” said Nash, adding substantial small businesses and employment opportunities will be generated.

He said there will be a focus on the employment of First Nations and Metis community members.

Todd Nash, Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta, speaks to reporters about an investment in conservation activities to support jobs across Alberta. Friday, September 4, 2020. Brendan Miller/Postmedia
Todd Nash, manager of the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta, speaks to media on Friday. Brendan Miller/Postmedia

The provincial investment will also support work dedicated to address fish passage and sedimentation issues that are currently impacting native trout populations, explained Lesley Peterson, a biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada.

“Replacing failed watercourse crossings with appropriately sized structures or open-span will help improve water quality and improve the ability of fish to access upstream habitats,” said Peterson.

“In addition to these benefits for our fish, wildlife and the overall health of our rivers, this work creates jobs for engineers, aquatic biologists, restoration specialists and construction contractors within our communities.”

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